A Mature Landscape

(26 May - 7 June 1990) after Joyce Kilmer

The first walnut tree is dead. Waving knobby arms, all elbows chopped off at the wrists with no curtain to hide its silver limbs. The second is senile. Long limbs reach out angularly and fly a few green leaves like flags. Three birches crowded on the corner snake their red roots into the flower beds against the house. The long roots of the liquidamber arch out of the yellow lawn. The small spruce beside the porch takes half the walk and scrapes against the garage door as it swings open and closed. The twisted juniper’s rusted combs are full of dust and spider’s webs. One green limb arches out of proportion from under the cedar. The cedar is too big for the small back yard. The guava tree bends out from under it over the fence into the neighbor’s yard, showing silver underside of leaves. The pyracantha has a fine green powder on every limb, spare of leaf. The Japanese plum is broken and dying from the inside, a crab shell filled with crumbly sponge crawling with termites. The hawthorn stump in the flower bed is rooted like an absessed molar, and little hawthorns peek between green iris swords. Walnuts grow from nuts the squirrels buried.